1 Timothy 2:1-2

In 1 Timothy 2:1-2 Paul gives us some instructions for how we should pray publicly. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Paul’s opening does not refer to time; it refers to importance. What he shares next is of first importance in his heart and mind. The broader context is related to the public worship of Christ Followers and the church, so this begins a series of instructions for how we should pray in the Body.

Paul lists some words that describe ways we can communicate with God. They are types of prayers that we can offer when we are together collectively in the Body of Christ.  He mentions:

  • Supplication – simply asking for something. Prayer should never be all asking, but it should ask in bold confidence from God’s Word.
  • Prayers – a broad word, referring to all communication with the Lord.
  • Intercessions – requests we make on behalf of others. As we pray, there should be time when the needs of others find a place in our prayer before God’s throne.
  • Thanksgivings – an essential part of our walk with God. Those who lack a basic sense of gratitude in their lives lack a basic Christian virtue.

Paul offers this with urgency and shows us that there are many ways we can pray, and many people we should be praying for.

He tells us first to pray for all people. Everyone needs prayer, so the potential is very broad. Most of us find it easy to pray for our family, friends and loved ones. But Paul wants us to expand that circle significantly, even to the point of praying for our enemies (which we learn elsewhere in scripture). Praying for all people means we need to pray the Gospel – thy Kingdom come – for all. We need to pray evangelistically for not just those in our immediate patch, but globally. And we should not forget to lift up our pastors, teachers and other ministry leaders who are on the front lines of winning people for Jesus.

Paul specifically calls out the need to pray for our leaders and all who are in authority. This was an issue in Paul’s day as believers often were accused of undermining the government because they claimed a higher authority that Caesar. Some make that same claim today. Clarke wrote that the early church leader Tertullian explained it this way: “We pray for all the emperors, that God may grant them long life, a secure government, a prosperous family, vigorous troops, a faithful senate, an obedient people; that the whole world may be in peace; and that God may grant, both to Caesar and to every man, the accomplishment of their just desires.” The outcome we should seek is a peaceful and quiet life without interference as we live out our faith in Jesus Christ.

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